COST Paper Evolutions: Exploring digital and physical paper futures

Seisto, Anu, van Beurden, Heidy, Egglestone, Paul and Mills, John orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4491-6796 (2015) COST Paper Evolutions: Exploring digital and physical paper futures. [Show/Exhibition]

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Paper is universal. We interact with it every day in a multitude of different forms, and it meets almost an infinite number of purposes. This exhibition looks to the future. It seeks to explore how paper and print can meet new demands, create new innovations and combine with digital platforms to create new opportunities. It spans re-invention of existing uses and explores new paper products and services. From super-rigid structures, the capacity to insulate against extreme noise or temperatures, combining the physical and digital and creating web-connected capacitive touch pages or smart packaging that links to your mobile phone, Paper Evolutions offers potential paper forms that could emerge in the near and distant future. Provided by both the COST Action Network and the PAPER Breakthroughs exhibition, the 16 exhibits demonstrate a number of themes. These include exploring the physical-digital world and how paper can find a place and offer new value in a digital ecosystem. Examples include packaging that incorporates sensors and unique combinations of paper and audio/ visual media that create novel user experiences or immersive environments. We also present here a strong thread of paper for social good. These include products or prototypes that provide environmental benefit or complement health and wellbeing. We also explore how natural fibres and eco-friendly materials such as cacao shells or biodegradable sensors could be used as or within paper-based products.

As you’ll see, some examples span some or all of these themes, some are located firmly within their chosen field. All try to innovate with what is possible. By looking beyond the areas of digital and print alone we stress the relevance of paper fibres for a wide range of social issues, demonstrating that innovation can come from unexpected (cross-sector) areas. For example, the inclusion of cardboard items are not simply about beautiful design but they emphasize the strength and flexibility of the material and hence the ability to replace commonly used plastic, foam or steel in production chains. This is relevant for engineering and architecture as well as for ICT and the 3D printing movement. The value of some of the objects on display lies mainly in the scientific research, exploring the characteristics of paper - tactility, recyclability, flexibility and lightweight - to the maximum.

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